St. Louis piano store takes show on the road to raise money and lift spirits
[Mar. 26, 2021: Rene Knott]
People in St Louis have gotten creative in their efforts to help others get through the COVID-19 pandemic. The folks at Jackson Pianos are taking their show on the road to raise money and left spirits.
The set-up is not exactly Carnegie Hall – it isn’t anything fancy. They just park their van with a woman inside.
“It’s nice to kind of play in a different setting like that,” singer Alexandra Sinclair told 5 On Your Side.
She plays a full-size wooden piano in the van. They call it a “piano gram.”
“Take piano out in the fan and do local shows. We’ve done about 60 of these shows,” Joe Jackson said.
The shows require more than just musical talent too – some brute strength is also required.
“Take a wooden piano, load it 60 times. That’s a 600-pound instrument,” said Jackson.
They started doing all of the heavy lifting in 2020.
“With COVID we were stumped,” said Jackson.
They were stumped in trying to find a way to raise money during the pandemic and found success with the piano grams.
“We generate some serious funds,” Jackson said.
The funds go to two places with some going to the charity Places for People.
“They offer therapy and health services. And some of the money goes to help struggling local musicians,” Jackson said. “Employing musicians in a time where you just had no gigs.”
Jackson Pianos doesn’t take any of the money raised, and these gigs do more than raise money. The music can lift spirits.
“This has been a rough year for everybody. A lot of people told us stuff like, 'boy I haven’t seen anybody in months,'” said Jackson.
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Since they can take the van to people’s homes, it gives the audience a safe way to hear live music.
“There’s something so powerful in a piano that brings people together,” Sinclair said.
Jackson believes the piano grams can bring people from all walks of life together.
“You can all swing to the beat at the same time. Ebony and Ivory, together in perfect harmony,” he said.
They hope their harmony changes moods.
The piano grams appear to be making a difference and strengthening our community. To learn more about piano grams, click here.